|3rd President of Côte d'Ivoire*|
24 December 1999 – 26 October 2000
|Prime Minister||Seydou Diarra|
|Preceded by||Henri Konan Bédié|
|Succeeded by||Laurent Gbagbo|
March 16, 1941|
Kabakouma, Man, French West Africa
September 19, 2002 (aged 61)|
Cocody, Abidjan, Ivory Coast
|Spouse(s)||Rose Guéï (?-2002; their deaths)|
|*President of the National Public Salvation Committee until 4 January 2000|
Guéï was born in Kabakouma, a village in the western Man Department, and was a member of the Yakouba tribe. He was a career soldier: under the French administration, he was trained at the Ouagadougou military school and the St Cyr military school in France. He was an ardent supporter of longtime President Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who in 1990 appointed him chief of the army following a mutiny. After the death of Houphouët-Boigny in 1993, Guéï became distanced from the new leader Henri Konan Bédié. Guéï's refusal to mobilise his troops to resolve a political struggle between Bédié and the opposition leader Alassane Ouattara in October 1995 led to his dismissal. He was made a minister but sacked again in August 1996 and forced out of the army in January 1997.
Bédié was overthrown in a coup on Christmas Eve, 1999. Although Guéï had no role in the coup, the popular general was encouraged out of retirement to head the junta until the next elections. On 4 January 2000, he became President of the Republic. Guéï stood in the October 2000 presidential election as an independent. He only allowed one opposition candidate, Laurent Gbagbo of the Ivorian Popular Front, to run against him. Guéï was soundly defeated by Gbagbo, but refused to recognize the result. It took a spate of street protests to bring Gbagbo to power. Guéï fled to Gouessesso, near the Liberian border, but remained a figure in the political scene. He was included in a reconciliation forum in 2001 and agreed to refrain from undemocratic methods.
Guéï withdrew from the forum agreement in September 2002, but was killed along with his wife, former First Lady Rose Doudou Guéï, and their children on September 19, 2002, in the Cocody district of Abidjan at the first hours of the civil war. The circumstances of his death remain mysterious, although generally attributed to forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo. His wife and several members of his family and the interior minister, Émile Boga Doudou, were also killed.
Following Guéï's death, his body stayed in a morgue until a funeral was held for him in Abidjan on August 18, 2006, nearly four years after his death.
Henri Konan Bédié
| President of Ivory Coast